Those who tutor in Mathematics Learning Support (MLS) on the island of Ireland may avail of initial training based on materials developed by the IMLSN and other materials developed by sigma. Normally the tutors do not gain any formal recognition for this training. To address this some members of the IMLSN and others set up the DOME project. This project has put in place a four competences model of MLS tutor training. To align this MLS tutor training model with National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning In Higher Education in Ireland (NF) professional development domains, it was decided to partition the training into four competences and associated digital badges (micro-credentials):
- MLS Knowledge and Skills;
- MLS Communication/Dialogue Skills;
- MLS Professional Identity Development;
- MLS Digital Capacity.
These four competences can be visualised as a set of competences that align to give an overall MLS tutor development award.
In a collaboration with the National Forum, tutors who complete all 4 of the digital badges will then be able apply for an overall National Forum digital badge:
The digital badge for each competence has been phrased to allow for local variances. The tutor can put the digital badge on platforms such as LinkedIn etc. (when you click on the digital badge it will contain the digital badge’s meta- data which is in descriptor for that digital badge). Also each micro- credential has a suggested value of ECTS credits at level 9/level 10: 2 ECTS credits being suggested for the MLS Knowledge and Skills credential and 1 ECTS credit for each of the other three (note that 1 ECTS credit is equivalent to 25 learner effort hours).
The learning associated with each credential will be validated by a local MLS co-ordinator but the credential itself will be issued by the IMLSN MLS Tutor Competences Coordinator using “Open Badge Factory” technology to facilitate the distribution of the digital digital badges to tutors who complete the learning outlined.
The key role of a local MLS co-ordinator in facilitating the MLS four competence training model:
The local MLS co-ordinator plays a key role in providing professional development opportunities for MLS tutors in the MLS four competence training model. At the heart of any successful MLSC is the MLS co-ordinator who will understand and be able to articulate the key needs of both the students accessing the service and the tutors providing it. Naturally, the MLS co-ordinator is best placed to oversee the learning associated with the MLS tutor training opportunities. As this may be an additional duty for staff who are very busy already, considerable thought was given to how best to ensure that the administration associated with the process was as streamlined as possible. To this end training materials, approaches and other useful items to aid with administration of the process have been developed and are contained in Role of the local MLS coordinator in the Mathematics Learning Support Tutor 4 Competences training model.
What does a tutor need to do to complete a digital badge?
- Provide the evidence to the local MLS coordinator that the criteria have been met. (Tutors are advised to keep copies of this evidence in the event that they wish to present to their institution to seek ECTS credits via a Recognised Prior Learning mechanism as part of their studies.)
- Read the Criteria for the digital badge that they wish to undertake carefully. (This is two connected lists of what the tutor is expected to be able to do as a result of the learning associated with the competence and what the tutor has done to demonstrate that this learning has been achieved.)
- Liaise with their local MLS co-ordinator as to how they will satisfy the Criteria for that competence.
- Provide an email address to which the digital badge will be issued.
What does the local MLS co-ordinator need to do in order to have a digital badge awarded?
The process is:
- Local MLS co-ordinator facilitates any necessary training (see Role of the local MLS coordinator in the Mathematics Learning Support Tutor 4 Competences training model). It is important to note that the digital badges allow for local variances in the Criteria to enable the local MLS coordinator to customise for local needs.
- Accepts and checks the evidence that a tutor submits as evidence of completed tasks.
- MLS coordinator enters into a log a record of the evidence submitted. (Templates of an Evidence Log are available to aid with record keeping including clearly documenting what equivalent local customisation may have taken place.)
- The IMLSN MLS Tutor Competences Co-ordinator seeks confirmation from the local MLS co-ordinator that:
- the recipients have completed the tasks required for the digital badge,
- this work has been recorded in an Evidence Log
- any physical evidence is stored for review as part of a possible audit proces.
- Finally, the IMLSN MLS Tutor Competences Co-ordinator issues the digital digital badge directly to the tutor.